The objective of this page is to suggest a diet that will help recovery from chronic inflammation in the body. The diet prescribed is not usually a part of the Homeopathic system of medication though our philosophy does suggest abstaining from food or objects that will retard or impede cure for example excessive caffeine, balms with high camphor content like Vicks, throat soothers or lollies, etc.
The diet suggested to patients along with the remedies is an attempt to bring together a foundation diet of soluble easy to digest fibres with low sugar, acids and balanced proportion of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended diet may seem contrary to the popular high fibre diets but the testimonials of my patients will vouch for the effectiveness of our recommended diet in reducing chronic inflammation. Patients who have followed this diet have been found with normal levels of iron and other essential minerals which prove that reduction of inflammation in the gut ensures optimal absorption of essential nutrients and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. However, it is always advisable to consult a nutritionist to ensure a well balanced diet suitable for your condition.
A diet rich in fish, eggs, chicken, cooked vegetables and soluble fibre like rice, pasta, noodles and white bread will decrease the chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation presents itself as recurrent headaches, heart burns, sinusitis, arthritis, musculitis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, otitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, dermatitis, colitis, cystitis, nephritis, vasculitis, etc. If you have any of the conditions mentioned and also experience poor memory, ongoing stressed emotions, anxiety, depression or frequent bouts of anger and irritability, then it is time to sit back and have a look at your diet. If you child screeches and screams without any concrete reason, is extremely hyperactive and destructive to the point of being labelled as ADHD, it is time to review his or her diet. Some of you or your family may be right now experiencing early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinsonism – the good news is that you can be helped with Homeopathy remedies and a change in diet.
Recovery and cure can be speeded or retarded by what we eat. In a diseased state the body’s recovery is enhanced by simple, easy to digest food – simple carbohydrates and simple proteins. In the recent years, a majority of the diseased states in people are caused by toxins or foods that the body was never designed to process. When the body is exposed to danger in any form, be it bacteria, viruses, toxins or food that the body cannot digest, the immune system is activated to defend the body resulting in inflammation. Inflammation is the process in which our body is protected from these foreign invaders (Lundell, n.d.). However, when we repeatedly expose our bodies to injury through toxins or foods that the human body was never designed to process, a condition called chronic inflammation occurs.. Chronic inflammation is harmful the body.
Over the years, most of the patients that I have seen in the clinic with complicated hard to treat disease or syndromes are people who have blindly followed the recommended mainstream diet that is high in unpolysaturated fats, rich in insoluble fibre and proteins that are complicated and hard to process. These diets may suit some people but many of the people on these popular diets lack the necessary enzymes or have already inflamed colons that do not support the breakdown and processing of these foods.
The unprocessed food in turn sets off further inflammatory reactions or immune responses and injure blood vessels. The inflamed and injured blood vessels deprive cells and organs of adequate oxygen and nutrition thereby affecting metabolic processes within the cells and the organ as a whole. The degenerative processes set in and soon the patient begins to manifest symptoms and gradual dysfunction of the body part. In addition, the injured and inflamed blood vessels begin to trap cholesterol leading to high levels of cholesterol in blood, high blood pressure and heart disease. It is not the diet with regular amounts of fat that leads to high cholesterol levels in the blood but the inflammation of the blood vessels that trap the cholesterol in the blood vessels (Lundell, n.d.).
The regular intake of hard to digest foods, chocolates and caffeine puts the body under stress thereby releasing high amounts of adrenaline leading to the further contraction of blood vessels in an attempt to increase the blood pressure as a natural response to stress. This phenomenon when repeated regularly several times a day leads to a sustained high blood pressure and negative emotions related to high adrenaline levels. In terms of emotions, some foods are known to stimulate the release of chemicals that enhance depression and anxiety. Very often high blood pressures, depression and anxiety can be simply regulated with a combination of simple Homeopathy remedies and a suitable diet.
When explaining chronic inflammation to my patients I always ask them to visualize scrapping a sharp knife with a serrated edge over their forearm till it is red and inflamed and almost bleeding. If this process is repeated several times a day for several years, you would soon have a swollen infected area that grew worse with every injury. There is no better way to describe the chronic inflammation going on inside the body. The process is the same - be it internal or external. Our food, especially vegetables, fruits, dry fruits and wines are often treated with sulphites to attract and preserve, thereby increasing the shelf life. Fruits, vegetables and meat are often treated with colours to increase their attractiveness. Vegetables and fruits are often genetically modified or treated to increase the sugar content to make it appealing to kids and adults alike. Raw food and salads therefore become the source of the direct intake of pesticides and preservatives that are not visible to the natural eye.
The inflammation caused by the regular intake of raw food and other food with preservatives and colours inflame the digestive tract thereby making it difficult to process food rich in fibre or cellulose. The inflamed blood vessels in the kidneys and liver make it difficult to process the excess uric acids circulating in the blood thereby making it hard to digest foods like spinach and lentils. The urea in fertilizers degenerate cells.
The recommended intake of bran and other fibrous food becomes a challenge to the body. Most of the patients who come in with inflamed joints or migraines or irregular heart beats of unknown origin have tender abdomens especially the lower left or right side of abdomen and the area around the umbilicus. Children and adults on milk with flavouring agents and high intake of chocolates, jellies and lollies often complain of pain in the umbilical region, leg pain and headaches. Irregular heart beats is a very common symptom. Blood tests and scans do not show any negative results in such cases and both the patient and doctors are both baffled and the patient is often labelled as hysterical.
More and more teenagers and young people are now complaining of symptoms of sudden low levels of sugar or hypoglycaemic states, irregular heart beats, endometriosis, anaemia, very painful or irregular periods and migraines. The regular intake of energy drinks, chocolates and other cocoa products coupled with the popular recommended diets that substitute cooked food with raw foods, high fibre diets and nuts are often responsible for the above conditions. These expose them to high levels of preservatives, pesticides, fertilizers, insoluble fibre and sugars. By now you must be more or less convinced that it is better to quit eating. After treating several complicated cases of chronic inflammation, with Homeopathic remedies and a suitable diet, I have compiled a ‘suggested diet’ that incorporates simple, easy to digest proteins and carbohydrates. The diet also includes guidelines for treats when eating out. The diet definitely seems to contradict all the popular recommended diets. However, the diet has definitely been proved to be effective in settling chronic inflammations and relieving chronic unbearable pain. The diet generally suggests soluble fibres like white bread, rice, pasta and noodles over insoluble fibres like bran in brown bread, seeds and nuts. White meat is recommended over the tough hard to process red meat. In an endeavour to reduce sugar levels, acids and uric acid, the patient is recommended to abstain from processed cereals, mueslis, fruits and leafy vegetables like spinach for a time. Further, in an attempt to reduce the inflammation, the patient is asked to refrain from consuming increased amounts of oxalates found in berries and hard to digest artificial vitamins. The industry promoting food supplements in one form or the other is booming and is supported by individuals who think normal cooked food is not enough. People lack in vital nutrients like iron simply because their chronically inflamed gut cannot absorb the iron and other nutrients from natural food.
The simple advice would be:
- Have cooked food as much as possible.
- Have balanced portions of carbohydrates with soluble fibre and simple proteins.
- Avoid food with high amounts of malt, bran and other tough, insoluble fibre.
- Keep a watch on your sugar intake.
- Have a low intake of dairy products especially cheese with colours and preservatives..
Suggested meal ideas for a diet with a soluble fibre diet foundation and low acid and sugar.Martha’s Menu that sped up her recovery from chronic pain and inflammation:Breakfast:
• Egg on toast (with white bread) Either boiled egg or
• omlet with onion and red or yellow capsicum or
• Toast with chicken and mixed vegetables or
• Toast with mushroom and onion or
• Fish with rice, onion, capsicum with garlic
• Chicken sandwich or
• Chicken and chips in sandwich Or Butter and Jam sandwich or
• Stir fry with green beans, broccoli, rice, capsicum, garlic, onion and fish or
• Chicken strips crumbed or
• just chicken seasoning and stir fry or
• Roast chicken or
• Chicken cooked in slow cooker. Use the chicken the following day for sandwiches.
• Vegetables: Potatoes, Potato wedges, potato chips, mashed potatoes or pan fried potatoes.
• Fish: Crumbed, fried: Green beans, broccoli, carrot
• Rice: White rice
Coffees and Eating Out: When I go out for coffee, I always ask for two slices of toast if there is nothing else that suits me is on the menu. I get chips and crispy chicken without the lettuce at McDonalds – tastes good with just onion (not keen on their fish).
Some cafes, I ask for something plain like chicken thinly cut on top of potatoes – most places have fish. One has to work at making meals interesting. When people ask me why I do not eat fruit or red meat, my answer is, ‘This works for me just now and I feel better.’Martha F
When any food triggers a defensive immune response, the person can be said to be allergic to that particular food. When the person is exposed to the same food again, memory cells in the immune system trigger the same response.
When the immune system is triggered by an allergen, the body releases histamines and the acute process of inflammation takes place to protect the body. However a consistent onslaught on the body by the same allergen can lead to a sustained state of inflammation or a chronic inflammation which is harmful for the body.
Colitis, arthritis, migraines, recurrent tonsillitis, etc can be the result of ongoing onslaught of the body by allergens. Fruits may give rise to similar reactions – usually not because of the fruit itself but due to the pesticides sprayed on it.Some of the chocolates, lollies and chocolate milk additives give rise to mild to severe allergic reactions and the patient, especially kids, experience symptoms of pain in the umbilical region, pain in the legs, headaches, chronic allergic conjunctivitis and even behavioural disorders ranging from excessive crying to destructive behaviour.Food allergy symptoms can present as:
• Skin rash or hives
• Swelling of the tongue or throat.
• Breathlessness including asthma.
• Vomiting and or diarrhoea.
• Abdominal pain and or cramps.
• Low blood pressure.
The common manifestation of itchy bites on the skin after consuming chocolates, lollies, jellies or fruits are often mistaken by practioners and parents as flea bites or dust mite allergy, etc.
Very often the faint feeling felt by young people and older adults after consumption of certain foods can be attributed to the sudden fall of blood pressure due to food allergy. This is often mistaken as purely hypoglycaemic states and patients try to remedy it with sweets or other forms of sugar which may further add to the problem.
Food intolerance is different from food allergy.
The immune system is not involved. The body simply lacks certain digestive enzymes required to digest certain foods for example ‘lactose intolerance’. In this case lactose which is found in milk cannot be digested due to the lack of an enzyme called ‘lactase’.
Similarly the lack of the maltase enzyme will cause ‘maltose intolerance’ thereby making it difficult for the patient to consume any food containing malt for example Milo, Horlicks,
Bournvita, Complan and other milk additives. Maltose intolerance could also cause discomfort from consumption of drinks extracted from malt for example beer, whisky, etc. Similarly fructose intolerance may manifest itself in the absence of the fructase enzyme. As a result patients will find it a challenge to eat fruits which are supposed to be healthy and nutritious.
Food intolerance may result in gas, bloating and abdominal pain and cramps. If the reason for food intolerance is not correctly identified, the patient may continue to consume the very food that the body is intolerant of resulting in chronic inflammation of the gut. This in turn retards the absorption of essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc resulting in iron deficiency anaemia, reduced levels of calcium in bones, etc.
There are two types of sugar sensitivity (Foodintol, 2003):1. Sugar or Fructose Malabsorption: It is a common condition. Research says 1 in 3 people suffer from Fructose Malabsorption. Fructose is found in fruits, certain vegetables and most of the processed foods like soft drinks and sweets.
2. Hereditary Sugar (Fructose) sensitivity: It is a rare condition. As the name suggests, it is genetic.
Most sugar sensitivity is undiagnosed and can be responsible for chronic inflammation in the digestive tract and other parts of the body. According to Foodintol (2003), most of the fructose malabsorption is dose dependent and arises due the the high content of sugar in most of the modern foods. Cane sugar or sucrose is substituted by cheap high fructose corn syrups in the manufacture of many processed foods.
Hypoglycaemic states in young people leading to fainting or an extremely faint feeling:
When we consume food loaded with sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response the pancreas secretes insulin whose primary function is to drive the sugar in the blood into the cells where it is stored and used for energy. If the cell is already full of sugar and does not need any more, it rejects the extra sugar. This blood sugar now rises and the extra sugar is converted and stored as fat. The extra sugar molecules attach themselves to a variety of proteins that in turn injures the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. This process when repeated several times a day can be compared to the scrapping of the inner walls of the delicate blood vessels with a sharp knife with a serrated edge or a steel brush.
High fibre diets are popular among the current recommended diets. People are familiar with the benefits of fibre. Fibre is naturally found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is essential for digestion and adds bulk to your diet. When processed well, it prevents constipation.However, the overemphasis on intake of fibre has resulted in people taking more fibre than what is required for the body. In addition to the normal fibre found in fruits vegetables and grains, people now consume large amounts of food rich in bran and other insoluble fibre that is hard to digest. This has caused several health problems but seldom related to increased fibre intake.
Some of the common health problems are malabsorption of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc, constipation, gas formation, cramps in abdomen, systemic sclerosis, diarrhoea and intestinal blockage. According to the Colorado State University, just like fibres bind to other foods, they can also bind to essential minerals and vitamins and eliminate them without digesting them (Thompson, 2011). Often patients complain of low iron levels despite iron rich food and supplements. Joints, bones and nerves can be affected as a result of an imbalance of essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Soluble fibre: Van Vorous Suggests that soluble fibre is not found in foods like bran or raw leafy vegetables. It is commonly found in food that is thought of as starches. However, they differ from starches since the chemical bond that joins its individual sugars cannot be broken down by enzymes in the human body. In short the soluble fibres have no calories since it passes through the human body without being digested.The following grains and cereal foods form safe foundations for your meals and snacks:
• Pasta / noodles
• Freshly baked white bread without preservatives
Though Van Vorous lists other foods, I have listed only those soluble fibres with low sugar content, keeping in mind that we are trying to evolve an easy to digest diet high in soluble fibre, low in sugar and balanced in omega 6 and omega 3 oils. Soluble fibre soothes and regulates the digestive tract, stabilizes intestinal contractions resulting from gastrocolic reflex and normalizes bowel function. Soluble fibre dissolves in water in the colon forming a thick gel and adds to the bulk as it passes the gut. This gel also provides mass that gently stretches the muscles around a full colon giving those muscles something to grip during the peristaltic contractions, thus preventing rapid evacuation of the contents and diarrhoea. The soft gel also relieves constipation by pushing through the impacted fecal matter (Van Vorous).
The next question asked by most of my patients is, Will I put on weight with all these high carb soluble fibre foods?
The answer is no. In my experience, most of the patients start losing weight naturally within a few weeks. Van Vorous suggests that the high soluble fibre food will help to eliminate fat foods such as red meat, dairy and fried foods. Soluble fibre is calorie free as it passes through the body undigested. It makes will make you feel full and it stabilizes the blood glycemic levels. It regulates the rate at which food leaves the stomach and it will keep the appetite levels under control. Despite a diet with low carbs and low fat, the obesity rate in the Western world is high compared to the Asians where the intake of soluble fibres like rice is very high. Carbs make up 65 – 70% of the Asian diet but the obesity rate is as low as 1 – 2%. They also have lower incidences of heart disease, colon cancer and osteoporosis rates (Van Vorous, n.d).
Insoluble fibre is found in all the food termed as healthy – bran, whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, greens, sprouts, legumes, seeds and nuts. However, insoluble fibre is a powerful stimulant of the digestive system and can cause problems if not processed well. These fibres must be consumed in tolerable quantities over a foundation of soluble fibres in a form that is easy to digest.The easiest way to identify insoluble fibre is to look for plant food that seems rough, stringy, has a tough skin, peel, pod or seeds. Common examples are whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereal, wheat bran, whole grains, whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, muesli, seeds, nuts, lentils (much better when cooked well and mashed), berries, cherries, pineapples, peaches, apricots, nectarine, apples, pears with skin, grapes, raisins, dry fruits, sprouts, cucumber (better if it is peeled and seeded), etc. Try and remove seeds whenever possible (Van Vorous).
Vegetables containing sulphur: In addition to the insoluble fibre, some vegetables containing sulphur can produce excessive fermentation in the bowels and thereby irritate the bowels. If you experience discomfort after consuming vegetables such as garlic, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, then they must be had with caution (Van Vorous).
Acid Foods: Citrus foods, vinegars and cooked tomatoes may cause upper and lower digestive tract distress for some people. If it does, these foods must be eaten with caution with ample amounts of soluble fibres.
Fructose: Fructose is the sugar derived from fruits. Fructose is the sweetest sugar and is found in huge amounts in honey and fruits. However, in some individuals fructose can cause gas, bloating and diarrhoea. Apple and grape juice have very high amounts of fructose (Van Vorous).
In contrast to the old traditional diets of our grandparents and great grand parents, our current popular recommended diets promote a diet rich in vegetables oils containing omega-6. Most of our products – be it margarine, salad dressings, processed food or ready to eat snacks and meals - are prepared in oils rich in omega-6.
Omega-6’s are part of every cell membrane and controls what goes in and out of our cells. They are essential for our body but they must be in balance with omega-3’s.
If the balance shifts by an excessive consumption of omega-6, the cell membranes produces chemicals called cytokines that cause inflammation. The ideal ratio for the two oils should be 1:1. However research shows that in the Western world the ratio of Omega6 to Omega 3 in our diet ranges from 15:1 to 30:1(Lundell, n.d).
Kressor (2010) lists the common disease that result from this imbalance:
• Cardiovascular disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• Metabolic syndrome
• Irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
• Macular degeneration
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Psychiatric disorders
• Autoimmune diseases
It is recommended that patients consume naturally available Omega 3 oils contained in fresh fish. Though there are other recommended sources of omega 3, care should be taken to avoid consuming seeds and insoluble fibre that may cause inflammation in the colon restricting the absorption of essential nutrients and elimination of harmful products that may further add to the inflammation of the blood vessels.
Dr. Dwight Lundell, a prominent cardiovascular surgeon with 25 years of experience suggests the intake of animal fats that contain less than 20% of omega 6 oils. He reckons that one tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6 while soybean oil contains 6,940 mg. He strongly recommends the use of olive oil or butter from grass fed beef. Other nutritionists recommend coconut oil for cooking since olive oil cannot withstand heat (Mercola, 2012). This strongly supports the theory that it is not the saturated fats that raises the level of cholesterol in blood but the inflammation and injury to the blood vessels.
If you have been a victim of chronic inflammation for years and are still searching for your answer, it is time to review your diet and contact us. It is also time to work out what suits your body best rather than blindly following popular diet recommendations that may not be ideal for your condition.When you read an article about diet, ask yourself a few simple questions:
• What brand of food or food supplement is being promoted? Question the intention behind the advertisement – genuine health concern or business?
• Can my system digest the advertised health product
• If the product has high fibre, ask yourself if anyone in your family has had bowel problems, bowel cancers, food allergies or intolerances of any sort, ADHD symptoms, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. If the answer is yes, then it is very likely that your system may not digest the product very well. You may not present with bowel symptoms immediately but may simply have the urge to urinate very frequently during the day and even at night.
The health food industry is booming and scientists will agree that artificial vitamins and supplements are often difficult to digest and may cause more harm than good especially in an inflamed state of the digestive system.
The treatment offered at our clinic is simply an attempt to correct processes that cause chronic inflammation through Homeopathic remedies and a diet that consists of natural food low in insoluble fibre, sugar, acid and balanced omega-6 and omega- 3 fatty acids.
- George Mateljan Foundation. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: What can high Omega-3 foods do for you? Retrieved from the World’s Healthiest Foods Website on 4th of June 2012 from http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84Foodintol (2003).
- Fructose Sensitivity: Two Types: Fructose Malabsorption or Intolerance? Retrieved on 21st June 2012 from http://www.foodintol.com/fructose-intolerance/sugar-sensitivity? gclid=CIrHhunDurACFQ4rpAodGkvYpgKresser, K. (2010). list item 2
- Death by Vegetable Oil. Retrieved on 2nd June 2012 from http://chriskresser.com/ how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sickLundell, D. (2012).
- Heart Surgeon Admits Huge Mistake. Retrieved on 1 st June 2012 from http:// guyaneseonline.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/heart-surgeon-admits-huge-mistake-by-dwight- lundell-md Mercola. (2012). Retrieved on 4th June 2012 from http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/
- 6 Health Risks of Eating Too Much Fibre. Retrieved from Fitday website on 4 th June 2012, from http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-risks-of-eating-too- much-fiber.html
- Thompson, C. (2011). Harmful Effects of Too Much Fibre. Retrieved on 4th June 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/512475-harmful-effects-of-too-much-fiber/
- Van Vorous, H.(n.d). Help for IBS. Retrieved on the 2nd of June 2012 from http://www.helpforibs.com/diet/faq.asp#insoluble